Beyond The Pastiche
Tripwire continues its 100 Graphic Novels You Should Read While Stuck Inside with its hundredth and final choice, Supreme The Story Of The Year by Alan Moore and reviewed by Tripwire’s contributing writer Scott Braden…
Supreme: The Story Of The Year
Writer: Alan Moore
Artists: Joe Bennett, Rick Veitch
Checker Board Publishing
It was a marvel to behold and the work of sheer genius.
Yes, we at Tripwire are once again referring to Alan Moore as a comic book wizard (“Alan Moore knows the score!”) who conjured one of the finest ways to celebrate comicdom, while simultaneously adding dimension to a character that arguably lacked it, with his celebrated work on Supreme. Originally an “extreme” Superman pastiche, Supreme, in Moore’s hands, played on creator and comics prodigy Rob Liefeld’s modus operandi with the character and expanded upon it. Moore single-handedly transformed a super-powerful thug into a noble hero who thought better of his other man. At the same time, he successfully took the grim out of “grim and gritty” comics and married once traditional fantastical themes back to what comics had become, namely sensationalistic and utterly souless.
Let’s not mince words: In the 1990s, Moore made comics fun again. And he did it with the 12-issue “The Story of the Year.”
Published by Image Comics . . . then Maximum Press . . . and then Awesome Entertainment (you get the picture), the book was just too good to kill off. Sure, the series ran for another number of issues after the first epic storyline, but it was the brilliant run of “The Story of the Year” – collected in trade paperback and hardcover by Checker Book Publishing Group in the early years of the 21st century – that dazzled the senses and added multiple levels upon a four-color mythos that was just a bit too thin.
Winning a wealth of industry awards, the critically acclaimed story begins with Supreme returning to Earth only to find it shimmering as it goes through what Moore dubbed “The Revision.” It’s during this time he learns that he is the newest Supreme to take up the mantle, and that in a corner of Limbo exists a majestic home of other older iterations of himself called The Supremacy. Some of the iterations that Moore dreamed up were: Original Supreme, Supreme the Fifth of the Silver Dynasty, Sister Supreme, Supremouse, Fifties Supreme, Supreme White and Supreme Gold, and Superion, among legions of others.
Issues that followed included a revision of Supreme’s origin, which introduced elements similar to another man of tomorrow. There were also entertaining explorations of the Wertham debacle, the EC Comics era, and the “end” of superhero comics in the 1950s.
Within the story, readers also thrilled to the introduction of Supreme’s rogue’s gallery; the first meeting of Suprema, Judy Jordan, Billy Friday, and Batman and Robin clones Professor Night and Twilight the Marvel Girl, among other new and fun characters. Fans also met new members of Liefeld’s “Golden Age” team, The Allies, including Storybook Smith, Waxman, and Doc Rocket, among others. I’m not even mentioning the secondary concepts that he included along the way, including his Suprematons, The Citadel, and many other ideas that just make you smile.
As expected, the writing is top-notch. Period. As far as the art, comix giant Rick Veitch shines in his flashback moments, while the other artists chosen to illustrate the series do a competent job in telling the story and leaving you wanting more. In fact, even after re-reading the story for the millionth time, I found something new and wonderful in the work, and I think you will, too. If you can find it, pick it up and give it a read. You will thank me.
Remember: “Moore is better!”
Here’s links to the other graphic novels reviewed so far